“Danch Meng” translates to “perfect approach” in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.
Since 2009, the folks at Ninety Plus Coffee in making available truly revolutionary quality dry process Ethiopias. Beloya, Tchembe and Nekisse are some of the distinguished coffees we’ve been able to feature over this period, and these are now joined by our Ethiopia Danch Meng, a project coffee developed under the LevelUp name.
LevelUp is positioned in the upper quality and price tier of the Specialty Coffee category. The goal is to connect customers to high volume, high quality, exclusive coffees at a price that represents exceptional value.
The LevelUp brand is led by Ashenafi Argaw, former Director of the Sidamo Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia, and now Ninety Plus’s coffee development director in Ethiopia, where the company has worked with numerous regional farms since 2007.
This standout Ethiopia is produced with a level of care rarely matched at any origin; hours and hours of careful harvest and sorting practices, as well as exhaustive cuppings in country, yield a cup that highlights the complex aromas and mouthfeel these coffees are famous for without any of the process defects that almost invariably accompany them. Coming from several small holder farms, Danch Meng is grown at around 6,000 feet on the stony hillsides of the Yirgacheffe region, and includes heirloom varieties unique to the area.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ethiopia Danch Meng, from Venia Coffee Roasters in Bothell, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Gelana Abaya, Dumerso, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Ninety Plus
elevation: 1700 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Ethiopia Heirloom
The aroma of the Ethiopia Danch Meng is absolutely beautiful; perfumed and intensely aromatic, with notes of rose hips, cherry blossom, chocolate, berries, and citrus.
The first sips of the coffee immediately post-brew are already brimming with flavor. It ranges a full flavor spectrum, being sweet, tart, and a little bitter; fruity, sugary, winy, confectionary, with flavor notes of bittersweet chocolate chips, cookie dough, raisin, cane sugar, and red wine.
As it cools off, tart and juicy berries come forward—raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry, in particular—with some other red fruits: apple, pomegranate, plum, grape. There’s also a tangy citrus acidity that comes forward—lemon/lime and orange rind—that, when combined with the red wine flavor, makes for a dominant sangria profile, with the finish being reminiscent of a wine barrel as red wine tannins and oak flourish in a slightly dry finish.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; winy acidity; dry finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Venia Coffee’s Ethiopia Danch Meng is a fine, elegant coffee. Furthermore, it is dense, dynamic, complex, and very intricate. Beyond all of that, though, it is delicious. That’s really the final word on this coffee.
I was struck by the amount of pop the coffee had; from the very first sip the very last drop, the Danch Meng is a really gorgeous, flavorful coffee.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.